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Bérénice Bejo (The Artist) stars in this raw and realistic relationship drama about a couple’s struggle to co-parent their 11 year-old twin daughters while still living together after their separation. Think a Nancy Meyers movie (complete with a massive, gorgeous house), only sadder and Belgian. Split up with someone recently or have divorced parents? Consider yourself warned – this child of divorce sobbed her heart out during a scene featuring an otherwise innocent family dance-off to a French pop song.
Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank, Wuthering Heights) is one of Britain’s most important directors. Her latest sees her take on the American road movie, following a ‘mag crew’ – a group of scruffy teenagers that peddle magazine subscriptions across the country, led by a rat-tailed Shia LeBeouf. A bold, sprawling, romantic look at working class America, it’s messy and imperfect – but it hums with life (and a thumping hip-hop soundtrack).
Heard the phrase 'emotional labour' bandied about recently? It seems to be the very subject of director Kelly Reichardt’s meditative adaptation of Maile Meloy’s short story collection Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It. The certain women in question are Laura Dern, Michelle Williams and Kristen Stewart, who live in and around the small city of Livingston, Montana. The film picks up the working lives of these three sets of women – and the extra emotional heavy lifting required in their relationships. Especially luminous here is Native American actress Lily Gladstone, whose performance as a lovestruck rancher who finds herself taken with K-Stew’s fidgety night class teacher is overflowing with simmering emotion.
Nick Cannon, Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett star in this bombastic, Chicago-set Greek tragedy turned hip-hop musical – and Spike Lee’s liveliest, most forceful film in years. In protest of Chicago’s black-on-black gun crime epidemic, the city’s women lead a sex-strike with the battle cry: “No peace, no pussy.” Its politics might be suspect, but Lee’s latest is the most fun I’ve had in ages – and it’s not so easy to see, given it’s slipped through the fingers of UK distributors. Catch it while you can.
If you liked Celiné Sciamma’s Girlhood, you might be into Houda Benyamina’s French teen drama - the central female friendship here feels similarly lived in. Dounia and Maimouna are your typical ride-or-die BFFs – shit-talking their teachers, rolling their eyes in the mosque and spying on sexy security guards-turned-dancers until they get sucked into a world of dodgy dealings in order to make some extra cash.